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Hockey Parents Underscore Goals in North Salem Budget Talks

NORTH SALEM. N.Y. -- A portion of Wednesday evening’s board of education meeting was devoted to the hockey budget for 2012-13.

North Salem and Somers support a hockey program together, since neither town has enough players to make up a team. The program’s total cost is roughly $63,500. North Salem’s share comes to about $28,600 to cover its eight varsity players and eight modified players.

Superintendent of Schools Ken Freeston said, “Prior to 2007, the cost of the hockey program was offset by donations.” Then for a few years the board paid full costs, but in 2011-12 it was forced to revert to seeking donations for the sport.

Thanks to a contribution from the North Salem Booster Club, the hockey shortfall was met for the 2011-12 year. The upcoming budget again requests donations of about $10,000 to cover hockey costs.

“Between Somers and North Salem we spend over $9,400 for chaperones,” said hockey parent Brian Hale, pointing out that chaperoning is a high cost in the hockey budget. “If you eliminate the number of parents and siblings who attend the games, we probably have an average of 15 fans. To spend $9,400 for that crowd seems excessive.”

Athletic Director Henry Sassone replied that chaperones are required by the rules for both home and away games.

Freeston said that the hockey budget was not cut, but parents were asked to raise money to help support the program, as they had done in the past.

He added that Sassone was able to contain some rising hockey costs by negotiating the price of rink rental and convincing the venue to provide passes for two family members of each player, which is a potential savings of $168 per family.

“The school provides the ice time and the coaching but we’re responsible for all the equipment and the uniforms and the transportation. And we often have to get out at 6 a.m. or drive home at 11 p.m. because of ice times. Hockey is always the punching bag,” said hockey parent Roman Tytla.

Somers and North Salem hockey parents are sponsoring a series of fundraising events to enhance next year’s hockey program. The first is an evening of dinner, drinks, music and a silent auction on Friday, April 13 at the Salem Golf Club . The party starts at 7 p.m. and goes until midnight. Tickets are $60 per person. For more information contact Melanie at m1nickless@aol.com .

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